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Exploring the action-safe area

From: DSLR Video Tips

Video: Exploring the action-safe area

Richard: So in our last module we talked about making sure that the frame was how you wanted it, because you can't really crop after the fact. Robbie: Yeah. Richard: Now I think more importantly and closely related is that not everything you shoot is going to show up on every single screen. We have this area called Action Safe and explain that, you do a lot of broadcast television work. Robbie: I do, and Action Safe has, well, a couple of uses, right? The first thing is that you know back in the day--I say that you know, not too long ago.

Exploring the action-safe area

Richard: So in our last module we talked about making sure that the frame was how you wanted it, because you can't really crop after the fact. Robbie: Yeah. Richard: Now I think more importantly and closely related is that not everything you shoot is going to show up on every single screen. We have this area called Action Safe and explain that, you do a lot of broadcast television work. Robbie: I do, and Action Safe has, well, a couple of uses, right? The first thing is that you know back in the day--I say that you know, not too long ago.

Richard: Nostalgia Robbie: Nostalgia, we still have it, but it's less, it's this idea of overscan. And what that basically means is that the actual image that's displayed on a television set through broadcast signal was actually bigger than the actual frame of the TV itself right, because you don't want to see the edges of the actual image. And because of that sometimes say you know somebody may be walking towards this side of the screen, if they walk to too far guess what, even though they're really still in the picture, they would have actually exited the frame of the screen.

So we've come up--well not we, but people have come up through the years of this idea of action safe, which generally is 90% of the height and width of the screen. If you draw a box around the screen, it would be about 90% of the total viewable area. Richard: And what's happening here is as Rob said, that 10% pad on the edges is just used as pad just like in the print world where you have bleed, so before something was cut, or margins on a book. So that things don't get shoved right up to the edge which makes it difficult and sometimes makes things feel too tight. So we tend to frame things just a tab looser.

Assume that the end viewer is going to see everything. If they are looking at this on the web, they're going to see it. If they're looking it on most modern TV sets, they're going to see it. Robbie: That's a good point, and I--that's what I tried to say a long time ago, this was bigger issue. Because you know in the past, overscan on TVs was much more present than we have on modern HDTVs. Most modern HD TVs are showing you almost 100% of the image. So if you're thinking to yourself, oh well they are outside of action safe, I shouldn't have to worry about, no, no, no... That object or that person might still be in view.

Richard: So if that boom mike dips into the frame from overhead, most people are going to see, you can't say oh just a little bit, it poked in, it was outside of action safe. Why we bring this up is that the world is changing and evolving, so you need to be mindful that everything you see within that shot is going to be seen by the end viewer in most cases. However, if you're working with old timers, clients, even many editors they may say oh that's just outside of action safe, no one will ever see that. Robbie: Well, it's not so true. Richard: Not so true anymore. So be careful of that, it used to be a hard and fast rule.

Now it's a nice guideline that only affects a few people. Robbie: Yeah and the other thing about action safe is you know when we're monitoring things, because you know a lot of times on bigger productions we'll be using external monitors and field monitors and stuff like that is that you can actually view action safe for different aspect ratios right. So you might be on the set, and you're shooting 16x9 but your end deliverable is going to be say 4x3, right? You're delivering for say may be an iPad or you know a web series or something like that. You can bring up 4x3 actions safe zones so you can say, no I'm going to protect through this actual aspect ratio and the action safe within that aspect ratio.

Richard: Okay and a close cousin that you might hear people kick around a little bit is the term title safe. This only kicks in with graphics, this is a further 10% ingest. So if action safe was 90% of the viewable image, title safe is considered 80%, and this is really closely related to the same reason why books have margins. If we put the text too close to the edge of the screen, it may look cut off or hard to read. So, if you're working with people on a professional video project, don't be you know too surprised to hear the terms action safe and title safe kicked around, as the shooter always think is my frame properly composed for my delivery aspect ratio.

Make sure nothing is in the frame that you don't want. Some times this means stepping back, looking at it, poring over the frame is everything good, you know let me look at this slowly before I roll. Robbie: Yeah, and a great technique that I often do is before I just jump into a shot and go let's go, I'll record 5, 10, 15 seconds, you know rewind or not rewind but playback on my camera or on my external monitor and really study that shot a few times because you know there might be something that is just so subtle that's in the frame that you didn't catch it the first time around. Richard: Yeah, so there you go. Can you crop video? Yes and not so much at the same time.

The better thing to think about here is paying attention to your composition throughout, and remember, that with certain delivery things you're going to have to keep a certain area reserved such as action safe or a particular aspect ratio for a different delivery device.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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DSLR Video Tips

350 video lessons · 99675 viewers

Richard Harrington and Robbie Carman
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  1. 1m 23s
    1. DSLR Video Tips Trailer
      1m 23s
  2. 2m 23s
    1. Welcome
      2m 23s
  3. 3m 36s
    1. Frame size recommendations
      3m 36s
  4. 15m 6s
    1. Exploring frame rate choices
      6m 16s
    2. Frame rate recommendations
      4m 42s
    3. Mixing frame rates
      4m 8s
  5. 9m 19s
    1. Understanding color loss
      5m 6s
    2. Understanding detail loss
      4m 13s
  6. 12m 8s
    1. Comparing sensor sizes
      3m 43s
    2. Why choose a cropped sensor
      4m 40s
    3. Why choose a full sensor
      3m 45s
  7. 9m 9s
    1. Understanding how DSLR viewfinders react when recording video
      2m 11s
    2. Understanding live view
      6m 58s
  8. 8m 39s
    1. Understanding aspect ratio
      4m 14s
    2. Why shoot 16:9
      4m 25s
  9. 8m 6s
    1. Composition matters
      3m 24s
    2. Exploring the action-safe area
      4m 42s
  10. 23m 7s
    1. Understanding card speeds
      8m 59s
    2. Shooting video
      6m 42s
    3. Shooting time lapse
      7m 26s
  11. 11m 27s
    1. What is rolling shutter?
      5m 50s
    2. Avoiding rolling shutter
      5m 37s
  12. 8m 11s
    1. Moiré explained
      3m 10s
    2. Avoiding Moiré
      5m 1s
  13. 7m 36s
    1. The dangers of tiny screens
      1m 22s
    2. How to set focus before recording
      6m 14s
  14. 9m 32s
    1. Using your HDMI port
      5m 17s
    2. Adapting HDMI to SDI
      4m 15s
  15. 20m 6s
    1. You call this a mic?
      4m 7s
    2. The impact of Auto Gain Control
      4m 34s
    3. The dangers of not monitoring audio
      7m 27s
    4. Using an attached mic
      3m 58s
  16. 4m 44s
    1. Shutter speed explained
      4m 44s
  17. 19m 49s
    1. The Exposure Triangle for low light
      3m 40s
    2. Adjusting aperture
      5m 46s
    3. Adjusting ISO
      5m 24s
    4. Adjusting shutter speed
      4m 59s
  18. 12m 26s
    1. Avoiding lens flare
      2m 8s
    2. Using a lens hood
      2m 46s
    3. Using a matte box
      4m 15s
    4. Exploring other strategies for avoiding lens flares
      3m 17s
  19. 17m 20s
    1. What causes shake?
      3m 23s
    2. Using a stable platform
      9m 27s
    3. Fixing shake in post
      4m 30s
  20. 16m 24s
    1. What are prime lenses?
      3m 21s
    2. Exploring low-light performance
      3m 2s
    3. Working with shallow depth of field
      4m 31s
    4. Examining cost issues
      5m 30s
  21. 11m 39s
    1. What is a matte box?
      4m 2s
    2. Discussing the benefit of filters
      4m 19s
    3. Reducing lense flare
      3m 18s
  22. 14m 19s
    1. What is an EVF?
      2m 51s
    2. Checking focus
      3m 56s
    3. Checking exposure
      3m 28s
    4. Viewing camera settings
      4m 4s
  23. 12m 5s
    1. What is a loupe?
      2m 38s
    2. Proper focus with a loupe
      4m 18s
    3. Proper exposure with a loupe
      5m 9s
  24. 10m 33s
    1. What is a monopod?
      2m 39s
    2. Exploring stabilized shooting
      4m 28s
    3. Exploring overhead shooting
      3m 26s
  25. 13m 48s
    1. Why use a dedicated audio recorder?
      2m 42s
    2. What inputs do I need?
      5m 7s
    3. File formats to choose from
      5m 59s
  26. 17m 6s
    1. Setting levels
      6m 10s
    2. Monitoring sound
      6m 51s
    3. Slating takes
      4m 5s
  27. 6m 22s
    1. Apps you can use to record sync sound
      2m 55s
    2. Adapter cables
      3m 27s
  28. 10m 1s
    1. Why does my exposure change with a zoom lens?
      1m 21s
    2. F-Stop reviewed
      2m 58s
    3. Strategies for dealing with the problem
      5m 42s
  29. 13m 37s
    1. How can I check my focus?
      1m 27s
    2. Zooming in
      3m 14s
    3. Using a target
      3m 44s
    4. Using AutoFocus at the start
      5m 12s
  30. 17m 19s
    1. How many batteries do I need?
      1m 27s
    2. Power or no power
      4m 6s
    3. Other batteries to consider
      6m 35s
    4. Strategies for lengthening battery life
      5m 11s
  31. 27m 29s
    1. What adapters should I carry?
      1m 21s
    2. Adapting audio
      7m 13s
    3. Adapting video
      8m 54s
    4. Power options
      4m 9s
    5. Connecting gear
      5m 52s
  32. 16m 4s
    1. What type of microphone should I use for run-and-gun shooting?
      2m 16s
    2. Built-in microphones
      3m 36s
    3. Shotgun microphones
      4m 27s
    4. Microphone preamps
      5m 45s
  33. 13m 38s
    1. What type of microphone should I use for an interview?
      2m 2s
    2. Lavaliere mic
      6m 35s
    3. Boom mic
      5m 1s
  34. 16m 45s
    1. Why do I need a fluid head?
      3m 6s
    2. Standard photo head drawbacks
      4m 1s
    3. Why use a fluid head?
      6m 9s
    4. Converting a photo tripod
      3m 29s
  35. 13m 34s
    1. Why should I use a slate?
      2m 0s
    2. Using a digital slate
      5m 13s
    3. Using a physical slate
      3m 32s
    4. Alternate metadata
      2m 49s
  36. 10m 42s
    1. DSLR recording time limits
      4m 14s
    2. Legal limits
      6m 28s
  37. 22m 37s
    1. Is the Canon 6D right for me?
      2m 36s
    2. Beneficial features of the Canon 6D
      3m 41s
    3. Drawbacks of the Canon 6D
      4m 21s
    4. Menu options of the Canon 6D
      11m 59s
  38. 21m 17s
    1. The Nikon D600
      2m 38s
    2. Beneficial features of the Nikon D600
      6m 4s
    3. Drawbacks of the Nikon D600
      3m 45s
    4. Menu options of the Nikon D600
      8m 50s
  39. 8m 39s
    1. Can I attach lights to the camera?
      4m 57s
    2. Moving lights off-center
      3m 42s
  40. 18m 4s
    1. How do I get my camera into tight spaces?
      1m 58s
    2. Using GorillaPods
      3m 52s
    3. Using additional Grip Items
      4m 30s
    4. Using a DINO
      3m 50s
    5. Using a Lens Skirt
      3m 54s
  41. 17m 42s
    1. How can I get smooth tracking shots?
      1m 42s
    2. Walking the camera
      7m 55s
    3. Using sliders and dollies
      8m 5s
  42. 23m 1s
    1. How can I fix shaky shooting?
      4m 37s
    2. Fixing shaky shooting in Final Cut Pro X
      8m 54s
    3. Fixing shaky shooting in Premiere Pro
      9m 30s
  43. 15m 18s
    1. How should I manage my cards in the field?
      2m 16s
    2. Using card wallets
      5m 33s
    3. Mirroring your data
      7m 29s
  44. 23m 56s
    1. How do I transfer my footage?
      12m 15s
    2. Monitoring your footage
      11m 41s
  45. 26m 28s
    1. How do I rack focus?
      1m 47s
    2. Using a Prime Lens
      8m 22s
    3. Using a Zoom Lens
      9m 13s
    4. Using a follow focus
      7m 6s
  46. 23m 8s
    1. How do I clean my camera?
      2m 55s
    2. Keeping the lens clean
      7m 48s
    3. Cleaning the sensor
      8m 14s
    4. Performing a wet sensor cleaning
      4m 11s
  47. 23m 58s
    1. How do I get slow motion footage?
      1m 50s
    2. Setting up slow motion in camera settings
      4m 57s
    3. Slow motion in Final Cut Pro X
      6m 17s
    4. Slow motion in Premiere Pro
      3m 57s
    5. Slow motion in After Effects
      6m 57s
  48. 14m 53s
    1. How do I import into Final Cut Pro X?
      59s
    2. Transferring from a card into Final Cut Pro X
      5m 3s
    3. Importing footage into Final Cut Pro X
      8m 51s
  49. 12m 10s
    1. How do I import into Premiere Pro?
      1m 19s
    2. Transferring from a card into Premiere Pro
      3m 55s
    3. Importing footage into Premiere Pro
      6m 56s
  50. 19m 13s
    1. How do I sync sound in post?
      1m 20s
    2. Syncing sound with Final Cut Pro X
      4m 40s
    3. Syncing sound with Premiere Pro
      5m 57s
    4. Syncing sound with Plural Eyes
      7m 16s
  51. 12m 50s
    1. Lighting with available light
      2m 23s
    2. Calculating the sun's position
      2m 7s
    3. Reflectors
      1m 42s
    4. Shiny boards
      1m 31s
    5. Evaluating the results
      5m 7s
  52. 16m 2s
    1. Lighting with alternate sources
      3m 3s
    2. Battery operated LED lights
      2m 15s
    3. Using an inverter
      2m 28s
    4. Using a generator
      1m 19s
    5. Flashlights & GL-1
      1m 28s
    6. Evaluating the results
      5m 29s
  53. 26m 3s
    1. Shooting in small places
      1m 44s
    2. Using portable lights
      8m 0s
    3. Compact lighting
      1m 8s
    4. Lens choices
      1m 31s
    5. Mounting the camera
      2m 11s
    6. Remote operation
      4m 24s
    7. Evaluating the results
      7m 5s
  54. 11m 37s
    1. Follow focus overview
      2m 25s
    2. What is a follow focus?
      2m 38s
    3. Setting the marks
      1m 56s
    4. Operating follow focus
      1m 4s
    5. Evaluating the results
      3m 34s
  55. 13m 57s
    1. Achieving critical focus
      2m 36s
    2. Punching in on LiveView
      2m 5s
    3. Using a loupe
      2m 14s
    4. Using auto focus before the shot
      2m 20s
    5. Using a monitor
      2m 30s
    6. Change the aperture
      2m 12s
  56. 23m 0s
    1. Exposure
      2m 21s
    2. The impact of sensor size
      2m 25s
    3. ND filter
      2m 51s
    4. Variable ND filter
      3m 4s
    5. Matte box
      3m 39s
    6. Evaluating the results
      8m 40s
  57. 10m 29s
    1. Backlit subjects in production
      2m 20s
    2. Shooting "in the middle"
      2m 23s
    3. Overpowering the backlight
      1m 30s
    4. Evaluating the result
      4m 16s
  58. 31m 22s
    1. Backlit subjects in post-production
      1m 54s
    2. Look at scopes
      5m 20s
    3. Enhancing the shots
      4m 51s
    4. Enhancing with Speedgrade
      9m 31s
    5. Enhancing with plugins
      9m 46s
  59. 7m 3s
    1. Audio for interviews
      2m 1s
    2. Placing the mic
      1m 29s
    3. Interview techniques
      1m 36s
    4. Interviewee placement
      1m 57s
  60. 11m 57s
    1. Shooting a product shot
      1m 30s
    2. Building the backdrop
      1m 25s
    3. Compact lighting
      2m 59s
    4. Cleaning the object
      1m 16s
    5. Using a macro lens
      2m 25s
    6. Using a turntable
      2m 22s
  61. 9m 8s
    1. Using a field monitor
      1m 44s
    2. Connecting the monitor
      1m 19s
    3. Using peaking and using focus in red
      1m 36s
    4. Using color assist
      2m 34s
    5. Looping the monitor
      1m 55s
  62. 13m 25s
    1. Scopes
      3m 37s
    2. Reading the histogram
      2m 11s
    3. Reading a waveform monitor
      2m 38s
    4. Reading a vectorscope
      4m 59s
  63. 30m 59s
    1. What is a GoPro?
      2m 35s
    2. The GoPro bodies
      3m 53s
    3. Essential GoPro gear
      9m 0s
    4. Powering the GoPro
      6m 13s
    5. Accessing GoPro menus
      3m 34s
    6. Essential menu commands
      5m 44s
  64. 9m 2s
    1. Exposure
      1m 1s
    2. The exposure triangle
      2m 40s
    3. Evaluating the settings
      5m 21s
  65. 15m 48s
    1. What is aperture?
      3m 29s
    2. A DP's perspective on aperture
      45s
    3. Adjusting aperture
      2m 14s
    4. Evaluating the shots
      9m 20s
  66. 14m 4s
    1. What is shutter speed?
      3m 58s
    2. A DP's perspective on shutter speed
      1m 37s
    3. Adjusting shutter speed
      2m 54s
    4. Evaluating the shots
      5m 35s
  67. 18m 12s
    1. What is ISO?
      5m 12s
    2. A DP's perspective on ISO
      1m 52s
    3. Adjusting ISO
      2m 49s
    4. Evaluating the shots
      8m 19s
  68. 7m 41s
    1. Controlling exposure beyond camera settings
      2m 44s
    2. Adding light
      2m 54s
    3. Adding filtration
      2m 3s
  69. 19m 27s
    1. Getting the camera higher
      2m 26s
    2. Using a monopod to extend your reach
      2m 46s
    3. What is a jib?
      3m 33s
    4. Operating a jib
      6m 21s
    5. Evaluating the shots
      4m 21s
  70. 18m 14s
    1. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
      4m 38s
    2. What to look out for
      5m 3s
    3. Pocket Cinema Camera workflow
      3m 51s
    4. Evaluating the shots
      4m 42s
  71. 17m 15s
    1. Shooting with a GoPro mount
      5m 14s
    2. Connecting a GoPro remote
      2m 46s
    3. Viewing with a remote app
      3m 48s
    4. Recording with a remote app
      3m 11s
    5. Evaluating the shots
      2m 16s
  72. 14m 15s
    1. Using a click track
      1m 28s
    2. Creating a click track
      5m 10s
    3. Playing a click track in the field
      36s
    4. Recording with a click track
      53s
    5. Syncing in post
      6m 8s
  73. 7m 5s
    1. Preparing for a shoot with multiple DSLR cameras
      2m 10s
    2. Scouting the location
      1m 16s
    3. Lighting for multiple cameras
      48s
    4. A DP's perspective on multicamera lighting
      1m 56s
    5. Matching cameras
      55s
  74. 5m 21s
    1. Doing a shoot with multiple DSLR cameras
      2m 21s
    2. Positioning the cameras
      1m 2s
    3. Syncing the cameras
      1m 2s
    4. Directing the shoot
      56s
  75. 16m 59s
    1. Achieving a film look
      2m 36s
    2. Post-processing to achieve a film look: Part one
      7m 20s
    3. Post-processing to achieve a film look: Part two
      7m 3s
  76. 28m 47s
    1. Black Magic Cinema Camera
      3m 44s
    2. Things to Look Out For
      9m 41s
    3. Recording with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera
      2m 15s
    4. Focusing
      3m 17s
    5. Evaluating the Shots
      5m 12s
    6. RAW Workflow
      4m 38s
  77. 15m 50s
    1. Achieving a film look
      2m 28s
    2. Post-processing to achieve a film look: Part 1
      8m 45s
    3. Post-processing to achieve a film look: Part 2
      4m 37s
  78. 18m 58s
    1. Shooting time lapses with a GoPro
      2m 25s
    2. Setting up the GoPro
      4m 30s
    3. Accessing the footage
      4m 52s
    4. Processing the footage
      7m 11s
  79. 21m 21s
    1. Why assemble a time lapse?
      1m 59s
    2. Assembling a time lapse in Photoshop
      6m 36s
    3. Assembling a time lapse in Premiere Pro
      7m 43s
    4. Assembling a time lapse in After Effects
      5m 3s
  80. 22m 40s
    1. Processing multiple-camera footage
      1m 42s
    2. Organizing the media for Adobe Premiere Pro
      5m 36s
    3. Syncing in Adobe Premiere Pro
      6m 20s
    4. Editing in Adobe Premiere Pro
      9m 2s
  81. 15m 1s
    1. Processing multiple-camera footage
      1m 8s
    2. Organizing and syncing media for Final Cut Pro X
      5m 13s
    3. Editing in Final Cut Pro X
      8m 40s
  82. 21m 56s
    1. How do I get a GoPro in the air?
      2m 1s
    2. Attaching a GoPro to a quadcopter
      2m 23s
    3. Calibrating the quadcopter
      2m 13s
    4. Flying with the GoPro on the quadcopter
      3m 48s
    5. Evaluating the quadcopter footage
      5m 49s
    6. Getting more control with the quadcopter
      5m 42s
  83. 15m 58s
    1. Sliding the camera
      3m 1s
    2. Tabletop dolly
      3m 8s
    3. What is a slider?
      3m 55s
    4. Using a slider
      3m 32s
    5. Slider versatility
      2m 22s
  84. 13m 14s
    1. Shooting with an iPhone 5S
      2m 58s
    2. Shooting slow motion
      3m 11s
    3. Accessing footage
      3m 17s
    4. Assembling footage
      3m 48s
  85. 16m 9s
    1. Benefits of mirrorless cameras
      2m 48s
    2. Mirrorless workflow
      2m 41s
    3. Things to look out for
      6m 10s
    4. Evaluating the footage
      4m 30s
  86. 26m 6s
    1. What is Log?
      2m 40s
    2. Why should you shoot Log?
      6m 7s
    3. Using a LUT with Dynamic Link
      8m 11s
    4. Creating a LUT in Adobe Speedgrade
      9m 8s
  87. 30m 34s
    1. Matching cameras
      1m 58s
    2. Variables
      4m 22s
    3. Calibration
      8m 42s
    4. Evaluating the shots
      3m 5s
    5. Matching Log footage
      6m 30s
    6. Matching ProRes
      5m 57s
  88. 11m 39s
    1. Achieving a film look
      3m 7s
    2. Using Resolve presets
      4m 29s
    3. Color grading from scratch
      4m 3s
  89. 19m 1s
    1. Achieving a filmic look
      3m 58s
    2. Using Speedgrade presets
      7m 34s
    3. Color grading from scratch
      7m 29s
  90. 11m 48s
    1. Remotely controlling a camera
      1m 34s
    2. Attaching a CamRanger
      2m 38s
    3. Creating a network
      4m 50s
    4. Controlling with an iPad
      2m 46s
  91. 10m 49s
    1. Taking a look at shaky footage
      1m 45s
    2. Fixing shaky footage in Final Cut Pro X
      3m 18s
    3. Fixing shaky footage in Adobe Premiere Pro
      5m 46s
  92. 14m 46s
    1. A quick overview of site surveys
      1m 25s
    2. Anticipating the weather
      3m 11s
    3. Taking panoramic site photos with Occipital 360
      3m 46s
    4. Collecting location information with PanaScout
      2m 48s
    5. Portable and mobile pro audio to go
      3m 36s
  93. 24m 54s
    1. Taking a look at third-party plugins
      3m 21s
    2. Exploring Tiffen Dfx Filter plugins
      6m 59s
    3. Boosting creativity with Tiffen Dfx Looks
      4m 3s
    4. Exploring the Magic Bullet Suite
      5m 45s
    5. Taking your footage further with Magic Bullet Looks
      4m 46s
  94. 9m 1s
    1. Scouting the lighting situation out on location
      1m 10s
    2. Using Lighttrac to determine sun or moon position
      2m 12s
    3. Using Sun Seeker to track sun or moon position
      3m 2s
    4. Determining the position of the sun or moon with Focalware
      2m 37s
  95. 2m 30s
    1. Goodbye
      2m 30s

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